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It is my pleasure to introduce to you the first edition of the “Botanical Adulterants Monitor.” Adulteration of botanical materials has been a topic of continued media attention and sensational press coverage of research publications. For example, there is the highly flawed DNA barcoding study by Newmaster et al. published in BMC Medicine last October. The authors of the paper curiously concluded that close to 60% of the 44 tested North American herbal products contained materials from undeclared botanical sources. This study led to increased confusion by consumers and producers of herbal products, and to attacks in the mainstream media on the dietary supplement industry with calls for more stringent regulations. (See the ABC critique, here.)
Our goal for this newsletter is to provide newly available information on issues surrounding accidental and intentional adulteration — and, to a lesser extent, the equally important problems of contamination — as reported by regulatory agencies or in published studies. In general, the content of the “Botanical Adulterants Monitor” will focus on providing solutions to current problems related to adulteration and botanical ingredient authenticity ... MORE
||Stefan Gafner, PhD
Chief Science Officer, ABC
Technical Director, ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program
ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program
Two Prestigious Professional Societies of Medicinal Plant Research Experts Endorse the Botanical Adulterants Program
The American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP) and the Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (GA) have announced their endorsement of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program. MORE
Skullcap Laboratory Guidance Document to Be Published
The first Laboratory Guidance Document of the Botanical Adulterants Program is currently in the final stages of peer-review. MORE
The FDA issued nine warning letters between October and December 2013 regarding dietary supplements. In seven cases, the FDA alleged the products were adulterated within the meaning of section 402(g)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the FFDCA) [21 U.S.C. § 342(g)(1)] in that the dietary supplements were prepared, packed, or held under conditions that did not meet current good manufacturing practice ... MORE
An Overview on Adulteration and Contamination
Reference: Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013;69(3):295-307. Abstract available here.
Researchers from the University of Exeter, UK, performed an extensive literature search on contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs). MORE
Ginseng in the Spotlight
Three notable studies on different analytical approaches were published in 2013 on the subject of ginseng authentication. MORE
Adulterated Herbal Supplement Shows Unexpected Efficacy
Reviewed: Karioti A, Giocaliere E, Guccione C, et al. Combined HPLC-DAD-MS, HPLC-MSn and NMR spectroscopy for quality control of plant extracts: The case of a commercial blend sold as dietary supplement. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2014;88:7-15. Abstract available here. During the last four years, the pharmacovigilance system at Florence University in Italy received several reports from patients referring to the unexpected ... MORE
Australian Researchers Publish Simple Method to Detect the Adulteration of Ginkgo Extracts
Reviewed: Wohlmuth H, Savage K, Dowell A, Mouatt P. Adulteration of Ginkgo biloba products and a simple method to improve its detection. Phytomedicine. 2014;21(6):912-918. Abstract available here. There is growing concern in the global botanical industry regarding the adulteration of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba, Ginkgoaceae) leaf concentrated extracts ... MORE
Below are descriptions and links to some of the upcoming conferences, seminars, and workshops that may be of interest to learn more on adulteration.
Botany 2014 - July 26-30, 2014. Boise, Idaho.
55th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP) - August 2-6, 2014. Oxford, Mississippi.
The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program is a consortium of independent nonprofit organizations whose mission relates to education, scientific research, and quality of botanical dietary ingredients and related plant-derived materials. The consortium is underwritten or endorsed by more than 100 natural product industry companies, independent analytical laboratories, contract research organizations, nonprofit and professional organizations, trade associations, accredited institutions of education in natural medicine, law firms, and media companies — which are involved in the production, supply, manufacture, distribution, marketing, analysis, research, and/or education of herbal dietary ingredients and supplements, in the United States and internationally. Companies, organizations, foundations, and/or individuals interested in supporting this program are invited to contact Ms. Denise Meikel, ABC Development Director, at (512) 926-4900, ext. 120, or by email.
Thank You to Our Supporters
*By acknowledging the generous support of these companies and organizations, ABC, AHP, and NCNPR are not endorsing any ingredients or products that may be produced or marketed by them.
Underwriters and Supporters of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program
(as of June 3, 2014)*
| Financial Underwriters
21st Century Healthcare
AdvoCare International L.P.
Agilent Technologies, Inc.
Amway/Nutrilite Health Institute
Artemis International, Inc.
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps
DSM Nutritional Products, Inc.
Enzymatic Therapy, Inc.
Ethical Naturals, Inc.
Eu Yan Sang International
Flavex Naturextrakte GmbH
Gencor Nutrients, Inc.
Herbalife International, Inc.
Indena USA, Inc.
Markan Global Enterprises, Inc.
Martin Bauer, Inc.
| Metagenics, Inc.
Natural Factors Nutritional
Products, Inc./Bioclinic Naturals
Nature's Sunshine Products
New Chapter, Inc.
The New Frontier Foundation Fund
of the Greater Cedar Rapids
Ningbo Greenhealth Pharmaceutical
Nu Skin Enterprises/Pharmanex
Nutritional Laboratories International
Ortho Molecular Products
Pacific Nutritional Inc.
Pathway International Pty Limited
Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems
RFI Ingredients, LLC
Schwabe North America
Standard Process, Inc.
Thorne Research, Inc.
Traditional Medicinals, Inc.
Triarco Industries, Inc.
Weil Lifestyle, LLC
| Trade Associations
Australian Self Medication Industry
Australian Tea Tree Industry
Complementary Healthcare Council
of Australia (Australia)
Consumer Healthcare Products
Council for Responsible Nutrition
Natural Products Association (US)
United Natural Products Alliance
American Association of
American Society of
Council of Colleges of Acupuncture
and Oriental Medicine
Personalized Lifestyle Medicine
Society for Medicinal Plant and
Natural Product Research (GA)
Boucher Institute for Naturopathic
National College of Natural Medicine
Southwest College of Naturopathic
University of Bridgeport College of
Third-Party Analytical Laboratories
Bent Creek Institute
British Columbia Institute of Technology
| Covance Laboratories
Eurofins Scientific Inc.
Flora Research Labs
Tampa Bay Analytical
Holistic Primary Care
Modern Healthcare Practitioner
Natural Foods Merchandiser
Natural Products INSIDER
Nutrition Business Journal
Nutrition Industry Executive
Amin Talati, LLC
Greenberg Traurig, LLP (James
Law Office of Holly Bayne, P.C.
Robert Forbes & Associates
Contract Research Organizations
Korean Ginseng Research Institute
Shanghai Research Center for TCM
of Materia Medica of the Chinese
Academy of Sciences
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